Wolff shows she can be a fast lady of F1

  • Reuters, HOCKENHEIM, Germany
  • Updated: Jul 18, 2014 21:46 IST

Susie Wolff showed she could mix it with the men and be a fast lady of Formula One on Friday but whether she can break down more barriers remains a question with no easy answer.

"That's the million dollar question, what comes next?," she told reporters after completing 22 laps and setting the 15th best time of 22 drivers taking part in first practice at the German Grand Prix.

Wolff's best time in the Williams usually used by Valtteri Bottas was only two tenths slower than Brazilian veteran Felipe Massa in the team's other race car.

Head of performance engineering Rob Smedley said she did "a really good job, worked well and drove sensibly" but inevitably Wolff wanted more.

"Of course I would love to be back in the car for free practice two and be part of the race weekend and that has to be the next logical step but as we all know that's very tough in Formula One," said the Scot.

"I'm just happy that I finally got to do some laps today, I finally got to show that I'm quick enough and of course I need to work on the next stage now but that's not going to be easy."

At Silverstone, her home race two weeks ago, Wolff had made headlines as the first woman driver to take part in a grand prix weekend in 22 years.

Her excitement quickly turned to disappointment however when an engine problem forced her to sit out most of the session without showing what she could do.

Friday's session at sweltering Hockenheim was her last opportunity, with the wife of Mercedes motorsport head Toto not currently scheduled to appear in the car again this season, and she was determined to make the most of it.

An initial scare with a sensor turned out to be nothing major and with a few laps under her belt the smiles soon returned - even if Wolff also picked up two fines for speeding in the pit lane.

"It all felt fantastic, the team did such a good job in getting me ready for today, and it felt so good to be out there, to be pushing and to finally be doing a proper session," said the 31-year-old.

"Certainly time in the car counts for a lot because the more laps you do the better it feels, and with every lap out there it felt better and better."

No woman has competed in a Formula One race since Italian Lella Lombardi in 1976 and even if that long wait continues, Wolff felt she had shown others what might be.

"If me being out there today was inspirational to just more than a couple of women or girls watching, then I think it is a step in the right direction," she said.

"I've always said I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think it was possible so for me it was just the next natural step on my Formula One journey."

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